MIAMI - Derek Fisher caught a long outlet pass, then sent a backward, between-his-legs bounce pass to Gary Payton for an uncontested lay-up in the waning seconds.
It wasn’t the only thing Fisher made look easy Tuesday night.
Fisher went on a personal 8-0 run over a 2:28 span of the fourth quarter, capping off his season-high 18-point effort and lifting the Los Angeles Lakers past the Miami Heat 98-83.
Miami never led in the second half, yet clawed its way within one on three separate occasions — the last coming on Rafer Alston’s 3-pointer with 7:17 remaining, a shot that brought the Heat within 78-77.
Fisher scored the next eight, and the Lakers never looked back in recording consecutive wins for the first time since mid-January.
“I had to wait for some opportunities to come around,” Fisher said. “I worked up a sweat and I felt good. I like playing here. I’m from Arkansas. Humidity is my friend. Once I got loosened up, I felt pretty good.”
Shaquille O’Neal had 25 points and Payton and Devean George each had 17 for the Lakers, who overcame an early 14-point deficit. O’Neal had 19 of his points in the second half on 9-for-12 shooting, saying he was sparked by a back-and-forth series with Heat reserve Malik Allen.
A bit of jostling resulted in a double technical for both players, and O’Neal scoring 10 points in a brief third-quarter flurry.
“He awokened a sleeping giant. I know that’s not a word,” O’Neal said.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points for Miami, which dropped its fifth straight — the team’s worst slide since opening the season with seven consecutive losses. Miami (21-32) is now a season-worst 11 games under .500, and dropped two games behind idle Boston in the race for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Lamar Odom narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Miami. Eddie Jones also had 13 for the Heat, which was outrebounded 44-37.
“I take this loss on myself,” Odom said. “I’ve got to have a much better, much more productive game than that. I wasn’t Lamar tonight. I let this one get away.”
The Lakers were again without All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who missed his seventh game because of a lacerated right index finger. Ultimately, they didn’t need him.
O’Neal, who at 7-foot-1, 340 pounds was at least three inches taller and 85 pounds heavier than anyone the Heat called upon to guard him, did most of his damage from in close — as usual.
But he secured the win with an open-court steal and breakaway dunk with 1:17 left, giving the Lakers their first double-digit lead of the night, 94-83 — part of a game-ending 20-6 run that began with Fisher’s scoring spree.
Miami could have tied the game at 80 with 6:33 left, but Eddie Jones’ 3-pointer failed to beat the shot clock. The Heat never was that close again.
“We did not execute at all offensively going down the stretch,” Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We came out of two timeouts and didn’t even run what we were supposed to run. And our rebounding is becoming a major problem. It’s been a major strength all year and now we’re getting absolutely crushed.”
Miami started quickly, scoring on 11 of its first 13 possessions and opening a 23-9 lead. Almost as quickly, the Heat went cold, missing their next 10 field goal attempts and going scoreless for a stretch of more than six minutes — during which the Lakers went on a 15-0 run for a 24-23 lead.
In the first eight minutes of the half, the Heat shot 69.2 percent and scored 23 points. They shot just 39.0 percent the rest of the game.
“After a very mediocre start, when we built a big hole for ourselves, I thought we played 40 minutes of very good basketball,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
Notes: Without Bryant, the Lakers are 7-7. ... The teams missed all 21 shots from 3-point range they tried in their last meeting; they combined to shoot 11-for-27 on Tuesday. ... A man wearing an O’Neal jersey was ejected in the third quarter for throwing a beer at the Heat mascot, Burnie — but not before the mascot retaliated by dousing the man with a large squirt gun. After Burnie’s revenge, security guards escorted the fan out.
PBT: The Spurs saw the NBA title slip through their fingers Tuesday night. Do they have it in them to rebound from their meltdown in time for Game 7?
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Spurs fall in Game 6
The Spurs didn't have enough to hold the Heat in Game 6. The Spurs were outscored by Miami 38-25 in the 4th Quarter and OT.
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